Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 10th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina – 
Deep down, I am a numbers person at heart. I like looking at a bunch of data, discerning patterns, collecting facts. So when I got my six month report from Facebook, I just had to play. One of the bits of data Facebook gathers is the location (city, state, country) of people who have viewed your page. I was floored by some of the numbers.

I completely took out the data from my home state of NJ which was over 15K views in 6 months, and NY and TX (both state were over 1K) because these three areas are saturated with my family and friends, so as far as I’m concerned, the numbers are skewed unfairly in those regions. I also took out PA, since it is right next door, so it too was probably guilty of skewed numbers as well.

Here’s where my surprise began – CA, where I know exactly 2 people, was just shy of 1K, half of which were from Los Angeles, Knoxville, TN – 316 views, Olympia, WA – 224, Charleston, SC – 422, Raleigh, NC – 333, Hamilton, MT – 199, Fort Gratiot, MI – 350, Chicago, IL – 633.  I think I have one friend in MI, one or two old classmates and one relative in NC, and I visited TN last summer and chatted with the hotel staff about my books while I was there. All told, 23K views of my FB author’s page in the past 6 months.

But wait, it gets more bizarre. Those were just the domestic numbers. Add another 4K for foreign numbers, almost 1K of which was from London – yes just London, not all of England. Again, I personally know exactly 2 people in all of England. Mumbai, India – 358, Birsfelden, Basel-Stadt, Switzerland – 360, Hong Kong – 278, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada – 322, plus another 400 from countries I have never even heard of and doubt I would even be able to find on a map!

I realize that was a WHOLE bunch of numbers and I have probably bored you to tears with this post, but it blows my mind to think something I am writing – me, a simple mom from central New Jersey – is being read all over the globe. It is quite humbling and exciting all at the same time. Now if I could just figure out how to convert these numbers to sales, I’d be all set.

On a personal note, my daughter had a good first day at school. She was so proud of herself because she didn’t get lost “even once”, and she was quite pleased with her teachers. Let’s keep our fingers crossed it continues through the year!

I kidnapped my girlfriend Sharon, with only a five minute notice, and dragged her to the airport with me. Don’t you just love having friends you can do that to?? My son and his girlfriend had a great trip. They met a father and son from England who were visiting the US for the first time, and they hit it off so well, they spent the entire weekend with them. They have even made plans on getting together in the future.

It’s funny, all of us have managed to meet people while on vacation who we continue to remain friends with – Red and Rose, the couple we went to visit on the way home from dropping my daughter off at college, for example. There’s also another couple we met in St. Maarten who were on their honeymoon, Jim and Jen, who we keep in contact with. I believe they just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. Seven years ago, when we were in the Dominican Republic, a pack of kids found each other on the first day, and they have all stay in touch. It has been nice seeing pictures of them growing up. You never know when or where you’ll find a friend.

OK, I have rambled on for more than enough today. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

The first day of school…

 Star Date: September 8th, 1971. Alien Planet: Menlo Park Elementary School. Since I had never gone to pre-school, kindergarten did seem like an alien planet, but within minutes, I was happy as a clam. I had the most beautiful teacher in the world, Miss Payne. She was tall, and not just from the perspective of a five year old, she was taller than my mom, and she had the silkiest long light brown hair I had ever seen. She had a melodic voice, a warm smile and you could tell she absolutely loved her job.

Now all of that would be of the utmost importance to a young child, but it was not what endeared her to me; already at my young age, I knew some beautiful people were not very nice. What made me love my first day was there were two kids who were very upset, Michael and Debbie. They were standing on opposite sides of the room crying. They were scared and did not want to be in kindergarten. Instead of Miss Payne just going over to try to talk to them, she asked me if I would go and talk to Michael, and she asked another boy, Jimmy, to go and talk to Debbie. Both Jimmy and I were successful in calming down Debbie and Michael, and they joined the rest of the class with no more fuss.
For this, I thought Miss Payne was brilliant. She, an unknown big adult, did not approach the crying children and scare them more, she sent other children so they could feel comfortable. The other children (Jimmy and me) got to feel important, needed and on our very first day were established as the two kids to go to if something was wrong; and she showed to the class, even though we were young, we could still do very important things to help each other.

I stayed in that school system through 6th grade, and even after seven years, Jimmy and I remained the “go to” kids when our classmates had a problem. It’s amazing how your very first day can set the tone for your entire school career.


Your Next Challenge is:


I remember where I was that day…


You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.